|St. Louis Cardinals||46-42||7.0 GB|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||46-43||7.5 GB|
|Milwaukee Brewers||38-49||14.5 GB|
|Cincinnati Reds||32-57||21.5 GB|
If you would have told Cubs fans that they would be up seven games at the all-star break, I would imagine most of them would have gladly taken it. The Cubs are in fact seven games up at the break, but there is a lot of uneasiness on the north side.
The Cubs lost 9 of their final 11 games of the first half, and their brilliant pitching from early in the year has started to fade. They still have a big lead in the division thanks to a 17-5 month of April, but the Cardinals and Pirates are starting to believe they could make a serious run at them.
Team ERA: 3.36 (2nd in the MLB)
Team wRC+: 109 (t-3rd in the MLB)
Team DRS: 34 (2nd in the MLB)
The big conundrum with the Cubs is do you look at them with the glass full or the glass half empty? The Cubs were 39-15 on June 4th, but finished the first half just 14-20. The Cubs were on a historic run differential to start the season, and it really shouldn’t have come to a surprise that they have come back down to earth. They don’t have as big of cushion in the division, but they are still 18 games over .500, and have a seven game lead in the division.
Player of the 1st half: Kris Bryant: .286/.384/.578, 25 HR, 153 wRC+, 5.0 fWAR
Biggest surprise: Wilson Contreras: .305/.387/.561, 5 HR, 153 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR
Biggest disappointment: Adam Warren: 32.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 5.93 FIP, -0.6 fWAR
Team ERA: 4.51 (21st in the MLB)
Team wRC+: 86 (27th in the MLB)
Team DRS: 12 (t-13th in the MLB)
The countdown to the trade deadline is on for the Brewers. They haven’t been as bad as they could have been, but you can certainly tell they are in a rebuilding mode. They already shipped off Aaron Hill to the Red Sox, and that will likely be just the beginning.
Player of the 1st half: Jonathan Lucroy: .304/.361/.491, 11 HR, 121 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR
Biggest surprise: Junior Guerra: 13 GS, 3.06 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.5 fWAR
Biggest disappointment: Taylor Jungmann: 5 GS, 9.15 ERA, 6.13 FIP, -0.1 fWAR
Team ERA: 4.39 (17th in the MLB)
Team wRC+: 103 (8th in the MLB)
Team DRS: 13 (t-13th in the MLB)
The Pirates were 35-39 and 14.0 games back on June 24th. There were rumblings that the Pirates would be sellers at the trade deadline, and could potentially trade superstar Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates finished the first half 11-6, and because of the Cubs struggles have found themselves now only 7.5 games back. The Pirates are also just 1.5 game back of the second wild card spot. All of those seller rumors have been put to bed for now.
While the Pirates have had several disappointments (McCutchen, Liriano), they’ve also had a bunch of surprises (Joyce, Rodriguez, Freese). They will be an interesting team in the second half. McCutchen has a 1.140 OPS over the last 7 days, and Gerrit Cole will be returning very soon (already made a couple rehab starts).
Player of the 1st half: Gregory Polanco: .287/.362/.500, 12 HR, 9 SB, 129 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR
Biggest surprise: Matt Joyce: .295/.420/.558, 8 HR, 164 WRC+, 0.9 fWAR
Biggest disappointment: Andrew McCutchen: .247/.319/.426, 14 HR, 99 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR
St. Louis Cardinals
Team ERA: 3.86 (8th in the MLB)
Team wRC+: 108 (5th in the MLB)
Team DRS: 5 (15th in the MLB)
The Cardinals have kind of been even keel throughout the first half. The Cardinals were 12-12 in April, 16-13 in May, 12-13 in June, and 6-4 in July. The Cardinals played average baseball down the stretch of the first half, but because of the Cubs struggles they have cut what was a 12.5 game deficit on June 19th down to 7.0 games.
Player of the 1st half: Matt Carpenter: .294/.420/.568, 14 HR, 162 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR
Biggest surprise: Aledmys Diaz: .315/.380/.536, 13 HR, 141 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR
Biggest disappointment: Randall Grichuk: .226/.287/.425, 10 HR, 89 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
All NL Central first half team
C: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: .304/.361/.491, 11 HR, 121 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: .299/.416/.591, 21 HR, 164 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR
2B: Ben Zobrist, Cubs: .283/.388/.467, 13 HR, 129 wRC+, 3.0 fWAR
3B: Kris Bryant, Cubs: .286/.384/.578, 25 HR, 153 wRC+, 5.0 fWAR
SS: Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals: .315/.380/.536, 13 HR, 141 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR
OF: Dexter Fowler, Cubs: .290/.398/.483, 7 HR, 6 SB, 138 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR
OF: Gregory Polanco, Pirates: .287/.362/.500, 12 HR, 9 SB, 129 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR
OF: Starling Marte, Pirates: .316/.363/.460, 6 HR, 30 SB, 123 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR
SP: Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 18 GS, 2.68 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 2.9 fWAR
SP: Kyle Hendricks, Cubs: 16 GS, 2.55 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 2.1 fWAR
SP: Carlos Martinez, Cardinals: 17 GS, 2.85 ERA, 3.50 ERA, 1.9 fWAR
SP: Gerrit Cole, Pirates: 12 GS, 2.77 ERA, 3.10 FIP, 1.7 fWAR
SP: Junior Guerra, Brewers: 13 GS, 3.06 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.5 fWAR
RP: Seung Oh, Cardinals: 45.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 1.79 FIP, 1.4 fWAR
RP: Hector Rondon, Cubs: 31.1 IP, 1.72 ERA, 2.22 FIP, 1.0 fWAR
RP: Mark Melancon, Pirates: 36.2 IP, 1.23 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 0.8 fWAR
RP: Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers: 38.1 IP, 2.35 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 0.6 fWAR
Pitcher of the 1st half: Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 18 GS, 2.68 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 2.9 fWAR
Batter of the 1st half: Kris Bryant, Cubs: .286/.384/.578, 25 HR, 153 wRC+, 5.0 fWAR
Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.